(Source: EastValleyTribune): Wayne Schutsky – Amazon Phoenix could be happening in the future. Last week Amazon started a national bidding war earlier this month when it announced it is in search of a location for its second U.S. headquarters. The announcement has drawn interest from several East Valley cities that are jumping at the chance to bring the online retail giant – and tens of thousands of jobs – tothe area.
Amazon already has a presence in Arizona with a distribution center in the West Valley and a corporate office in Tempe, though the size of both of those facilities pales in comparison to the forthcoming new headquarters, also known as HQ2.
The company plans to spend roughly $5 billion constructing HQ2, which could eventually bring up to 50,000 high-paying jobs, according to an Amazon press release.
The facility is expected to be comparable to Amazon’s current Seattle headquarters, which that features 33 buildings totaling over 8 million square feet.
Based on the company’s request for proposal – which seeks a business-friendly metropolitan area with more than 1 million people – the East Valley appears to fit the bill for HQ2.
Several local leaders agree.
“We received the RFP (on the morning of Sept. 7),” Mesa Economic Development Director Bill Jabjiniak said via email. “As usual, we will do a full evaluation of the opportunity. It is still early, but we do expect to submit several sites.”
An obvious potential site for HQ2 in Mesa would be the city’s still-developing Elliot Road Technology corridor, which already is home to an Apple command center. The corridor has the utility infrastructure in place to support a massive high-tech facility and is in close proximity to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.
Mesa won’t be alone in its attempts to woo Amazon to the East Valley, though.
Like Mesa, Chandler will attempt to use its existing technology industry to attract Amazon. Its Price Corridor already is home to Intel and its 11,000 jobs and features a robust infrastructure grid.
With Intel, Orbital ATK and PayPal already in the city, Chandler has strong credentials as Amazon is looking for “urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent,” according to the press release.
“Absolutely, we will put together a package for Amazon,” Chandler Economic Development Director Micah Miranda said
The city was aware of the opportunity prior to the RFP going out and is currently in the process of going through its due diligence and “scouring” every potential site across the city, Miranda said.
“I think the thing that really sets Chandler apart is it is pro-business, fiscally responsible and has great schools and great transportation,” Miranda said.
Tempe, the only East Valley city that already has an Amazon facility, will look to leverage that existing relationship with the company to bring the project to the city.
“Tempe will work with Greater Phoenix Economic Council to offer a site in our city to be considered, alongside any others from our region,” Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said in an email. “We would be glad to see the region considered for this campus.”
Mitchell also pointed out that the entire region will benefit if Amazon chooses an HQ2 site in any city in the Phoenix metropolitan area